A MAN who used his home to prepare cannabis with a street value of £70,000 has been spared instant jail.
Hasan Savzali was found with around seven kilograms of skunk cannabis drying out in his front bedroom.
He was arrested after drugs police raided the house in Penryhn Street, Hartlepool, on Tuesday, January 22.
That raid followed an earlier swoop on the same day at a flat above a takeaway in Church Street, also Hartlepool.
A second suspect was also arrested and charged at the time, but
that charge was later dismissed by prosecutors after further investigations.
Police originally suspected the Penryhn Street haul, where Savzali lived, to be worth around £50,000, but that increased following analysis by scientists.
Savzali, 28, who moved to the UK from Iran, said he was not a dealer but admitted holding onto the cannabis for others in the drugs trade.
He was given a suspended prison sentence at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.
Police estimated the cannabis to have a street value of £70,980 if it was sold as £10 street deals.
Savzali, who spent four months in prison on remand after his arrest, admitted possesing cannabis with intent to supply.
Christine Egerton, mitigating, said: “He knew it was there but clearly a third party was involved.
“The intention was to return the cannabis to that third party.
“With hindsight, he realises how foolish this was and bitterly regrets becoming involved.
“It is clear from looking at the pre-sentence report the fact he was remanded has affected him greatly.”
The judge said the offence atrracted a 12-month prison sentence, but added Savzali would be released within weeks if he was locked up because of the time he has spent on remand.
He was given 12-months prison, suspended for two years, and also ordered to do 120 hours of community service.
The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, said: “I have absolutely no doubt that cannabis was for onward supply to the general public.
“I also have no doubt there were others involved in the distribution of it.
“You played a vital role by allowing your house to be used for the drying out of this cannabis.
“I think it would be a lot more constructive to the public if the sentence was to be suspended and if you were to do some unpaid work.”
Anyone with any information about drugs activity in Hartlepool can call the confidential telephone number (01642) 302 181.
Alternatively, call the charity Crimestoppers on 0500 555 111.